Sunday, 7 November 2010
BUSTED MEDIA ETHICS: THE CASE OF AGNES AND CLASSIC 105 FM
The ingenuity of the concept of setting up cheating spouses on national radio is without doubt amazing. Even entertaining to some or a justified comeuppance for the two-timing culprits. But to go as far as impersonating a person infected by the HIV virus, amounts to a busted media ethics.
Whether the Classic 105 FM presenter is faking the whole episode in order to catch the startled party is to me besides the point. The fact that HIV/Aids is in reality a much dreaded disease, whose sufferers are exposed to a whole deal of stigma ought to have first called for some sensible analysis before going on air.
Yes. Agnes has been busted and all but made to confess her infidelity. But suppose a person living with the HIV virus was following the proceedings? In other words, the person ailing from HIV gets to hear his or her life-threatening condition being ridiculed.
And by extension, such a person is likely to be exposed to social stigma because HIV is often perceived as a death sentence-like condition and her 'supposed' status is publicly revealed and even broadcast.
Moreover, the acceptable practice is that before one is tested or told of one's HIV status, one is first counseled. You don't just blurt out directly to some one that they may be infected with the virus.
Supposing by some hyperbolical bad luck, the diabolical call to Agnes could have caused her to have a fatal heart attack from shock? Will the station not have been culpable?